Artwork for podcast Data Driven
Bob Ward on SQL, Faith, and the Dallas Cowboys
Episode 922nd June 2020 • Data Driven • Data Driven
00:00:00 01:01:06

Share Episode


In this episode, Frank and Andy talk with the legendary Bob Ward.


Sponsor: - Get a free audio book when you sign up for a free trial!

Notable Quotes

On playing the "plague or pollen" game. (02:30)

Regarding sportsball... (05:30)

Virtual is the new norm. (06:30)

Bob and Azure (07:30)

Frank caught Bob in person at Microsoft Ready (08:15)

On sharing code...(9:30)

Bob on SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters (11:00)

... and PolyBase (12:30)

"Keep the data where it lives, access it through the language you're familiar with." - Bob on PolyBase (13:48)

Regarding Synapse (14:48)

...even for AS/400... (18:20)

PolyBase as an incremental migration strategy... (19:30)

COBOL, and more COBOL, and Y2K (20:30)

"Buck Woody works with me..." - Bob Ward (21:00)

An aside about NFL Football teams and rivalries. (23:00)

We all miss baseball. (23:50)

"Did you find data or did data find you?" (25:00)

How Bob was recruited by Microsoft 26 years ago (26:45)

Anna Hoffman... (28:15)

Bob's Book: SQL Server 2019 Revealed (31:00)

"So this Bob Ward guy... he's kinda a big deal..." - Frank (32:45)

"I have people like my wife to keep me humble." - Bob (34:00)

"There's always somebody smarter..." - Bob (34:45)

"The Silverlight apocalypse..." (35:30)

"When I'm not working, I enjoy ____." (36:30)

Some Good News (37:30)

A Quiet Place (38:15)

"I think the coolest thing in technology today is ____." (38:45)

Bob started at Microsoft in 1993. (40:15)

"There's no way somebody is going to put a SQL Server in the cloud." (42:00) (42:40)

On remote training (44:00)

"I look forward to the day when I can technology to ____." (45:30)

"IoT-ness" - Bob, circa 2020 (46:40)

"Share something different about myself." (48:00)

"We're all screwing up!" (49:30)

Grace is Greater, by Kyle Idleman (50:20)

Bob on LinkedIn (51:30) (51:45) (52:30)

Tom Clancy series (53:00)

Sherlock Holmes series (54:00)

Sherlock - BBC (54:45)

"John Krasinski is a great Jack Ryan." - Bob (58:00)

Transcript (AI Generated)

Hello and welcome to data driven,


podcast where we explore the emerging

field of data science. We bring the best minds

in data, software, engineering, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Now hear your hosts Frank Lavigna

and Andy Leonard. Hello and welcome back to data driven.

The podcast or we explore the emerging fields of data


machine learning and artificial intelligence.

If you like to think of data as the new


then you can consider as well like Car Talk and

with me on his epic road trip down.

The information superhighway is Andy Leonard.

Although. I think we are now currently in lock down

so that road ship and has been postponed.

It has and wow what a you know

what an interesting time to live in right Frank.

Right right, we are recording this on April 15th.

You know it's serious when even the government postpones tax


True, yeah today would have been the day that your

taxes were doing US,

but they pushed it back.

I forgot three months for

months whatever. Yeah, yeah, three months,

but it's in Julies coming up on my birthday.

That's how I remember it.

Like I need another paper.

They give it kind of.

Yeah exactly, but you know it's been an interesting day


This I live in Virginia.

You know? This uh, FarmVille,

VA Ann. I imagine you may have gotten different weather

than I did,

even a little more odd for this time of year.

This late in spring. It is extremely odd to have,

uh, you know, an overnight temperature in the 30s.

Not only that, but we saw flurries this morning.

I believe this is the latest I've ever seen.

Snow flurries. Just crazy.

Well, you're at a higher elevation.

I think I know. Western Maryland had some snow overnight



It could be definitely could be,

yeah. It's hilly here where I am.

I'm a little little East of the

mountains. OK, but it is

allergy season so we're having just loads of fun here

with that.

How's things going with you Frank?

How's the family well? Well,


doing good. We're all

sequestered together, and Fortunately I don't live in New York

City anymore.

In a small apartment. Otherwise,

I think I probably would've lost my mind by now.

Wow, yeah we my have allergies,

and I think my older son is developing allergies,

so we're playing the plague or pollen game.

And so terrible

game to play, isn't it?

Especially when you're outside.

It's like, although I found that wearing kind of like

face masks and stuff does help the sneezing and actually

in watery eyes.

So yeah,

actually does so.

Yeah, I I.

It's funny like I watch TV now and they show

old clips or something and

I'm like they're sitting too close together.

And that's the truth. I've seen it.


kind of noticed that too.


enough about enough

about the stuff that's

going on with that. I have an announcement,


What's your nationality? I am

so excited about this. My 17 year old son Stevie

Ray has been selected to present at SQL Saturday.

Richmond is going to be a virtual event at nearly

the last Saturday of April to 25th.

He came to me about a year ago.

He's been going to these things with me for over

half his life and he came to him 10 months

a year ago and says I want to do one

of these. I think I can do a presentation.

How do I go about it and I said,

well? You know, pick something shiny as a topic.

And he actually doubled up on that.

He is presenting on how to install SQL Server 2017.

On on Linux, running on a π three a Raspberry

Pi 3.

And I was like, you know,

you could have picked something harder

maybe. No, but he worked on this and it's been.

I would

estimate he's got 4 or 500 hours on it.

I helped him out as much as I could with


Know like technical stuff, but I was mostly kind of

standing back just to see if he was going to

do this and he beat through it.

Frank and he got it to work nice and right

after that he put together.

I think so too and I'm so excited we're I'm

presenting in the first slot a week from Saturday.

He's presenting in a second right behind me and in

that same channel so.

I just I'm so proud of him.

You know these proud Papa moments,

right? You gotta eat.

These are totally, totally. I'll

never forget the day my.

He was nine at the time he went.

He was over to play date a friends house and

he fixed their router.

So yeah,

now so

proud that's awesome. Well, Speaking

of Speaking

of being Super Smart

and probably at a young

age to we are we are very honored today to


I'm going to say the Bob Ward on the show

today as our guest.

Bob works for Microsoft. He doesn't awful lot of speaking

at the major major conferences is usually on the big

stage and in the big room.

And doing keynotes and stuff.

The only bad thing I think I can say about

Bob is I've seen him at the past summit a

few times wearing a Dallas Cowboys Jersey.

Goodness, gracious Bob. I don't know what

to say about that, but.

Will will let you select.

I'll confess, I'm a

Redskins fan an you know,

understand because I'll

admit it now. On

recording, you know at least you're not an Eagles fans.


can, you know, Redskins. Was this rivalry from years ago

in the 70s right now?

Not so much for us.

It's the Eagles pretty much so.

If you're an Eagles fan,

I might have to

drop off the call right now.

But it it please I if you do not know


Bob Ward is Gogo, checking out,

popping his name into you know into your favorite search

engine and check him out in my favorite search engine

actually is is Bing so I can say that,

but he's a lot of talks about data you do

a lot of free webinars.

You do a lot of speaking an you know you

do more than just talk about this.

I know you're engaged with the future of SQL Server.

And the data products I want to Azure and we're

just honored to have you here Bob.

Welcome today.

I'm happy to be here.

Thanks for thanks for inviting me

today. Appreciate it. While we sure appreciate your time.

Tell us a little bit about what you've been working

on lately,

what, what's

cool, what's going on? You know?

Of course, these are interesting times as you guys started

off the call,

so a lot of the things that I've been doing

in terms of showing up at a big event personally

have altered and changed obviously quite a bit,

so there's a lot of pivot within Microsoft and even

outside of Microsoft.

But how do we do things more virtual and digital?

I spent over the last year and a half leading

up to the end of last year on SQL 19.

Our latest release of SQL Server.

I mean, I was just immersed from this from the


Uh, an, which again landed ultimately in launching of the

product last November,

December. Over the Holidays, I'm up in Redmond when I

could travel back then the Redmond and I'm with my


but I'm talking about, you know,

what should I focus on in calendar year 20 and

he's like you know what?

It would be really cool if you could spend some

time in Azure,

which I had done a little bit in the past,

but not near as much.

So lately I've been spending a little bit more time

on that space on the Azure Sequel space.

Still doesn't mean that I'm not doing SQL Server,

that's still my my pride and joy.

My passion, right? So I heard you talk here at

the beginning about doing your son doing SQL Linux on

a pie.

I mean, that's amazing. I spent a lot of time

on the Linux side with SQL,

spent a lot of time doing things with Linux from

containers and so forth.

But yeah, doing little cloud work right now actually kind

of a little bit of my focus in the last

few months,


Very. I'm sorry, go ahead friend.

So I may

have the distinction of attending one of your last public

in person talks,

Bob. I was in the session you did delivered it



OK it ready. Yes in February?

Well it's funny because I did the ready thing and

that was when the virus situation was all kind of

just just starting a little bit internationally.

And so I was pretty comfortable that ironically I went

to Charlotte,

NC at the end of February and I also went

to Charleston up to that.

'cause my son lives in Charleston,

SC. So I was there in Charlotte.

I did a little bit of an event there in

Charlotte and I did cover sequel 19 in Azure sequel

and so forth.

But yeah, it's it's interesting.

You are ready. When

I was there, OK?

Yeah, great session, great session by the way I I

so for those who don't know ready is on.

I think if they're if they're an active listener of

the show that I did a couple of live streams

from ready.

Outside the building, 'cause it's you know,

super secret of course. It's an internal event for to

get field people ready for technologies that are coming out.

Yeah we even did a workshop there on if you

got a chance to be part of that but um

one of the things I've pivoted on over the last

year and doing more of it again this year as

well is making sure not just doing a talk where

I'm up there just bloviating on slides and just talking

about technology and so forth but some real hands on

stuff so you know we did a sequel 19 workshop

at the past summit last year it all on GitHub

it's all out there and so we kind of did

a mini version of that ready very very popular 'cause

we were teaching people hands on like how to use

the new sequel 19 features how to deploy your own

container was the container what is all this kind of

stuff right.

Um, so we did all sorts of things like that,

and that's a big pivot.

Now for me is to make sure what I'm doing

anything publicly or even internally.

You know, can I get that stuff on a GitHub

site and make it readily available so people can try


That's a fantastic idea and absolutely love all of these


We can now share code,

especially those of us who've been doing presentations for years.

It's it's awesome when you could stand up there and

talk like you said you could talk about it for

maybe 75 minutes.

There's not usually enough time in a 75 minute slot

to have everybody open their laptop and work through this,

but it's awesome, especially when you can put it on

these markdown sites like GitHub,

an Azure Azure DevOps. I've been using that a lot

now to kind of.

I've got some code in one location,

summon another. Love is that they can go through an.

I've started sticking the slides up there,

Bob Even so they can walk me through.

My slides are for me right?

All the notes are about say this then say this

then do that.

But it's it's incredible that we could do that.

and I know from experience just an watching you speak

at events like to pass on it that you did.

It seemed to me maybe I'm maybe I'm out of

line here but tell me it seemed to be you

focused a lot on.

On the clusters of the big data clusters in 2019,

yeah. I mean, it's obviously

one of the hero capabilities

of SQL 19, so I talk about SQL lighting all

up like I'm one of the few people in the

team to just cover everything we do in the product

in 19, right? But one big folks have that in

my colleague Buck.

Would you spend a lot of time in this as


One big focus of 19 is this big data cluster


This is radical stuff. This is like you know,

people are used to the SQL engine,

which is great obviously. But then all of a sudden

now we're installing Hadoop,

were installing spark. We're combining it with big data technologies

all in a Kubernetes cluster,

and people are like. I'm sorry,

what did you say? Hadoop spark Kubernetes that's not a

sequel thing like?

What do you mean? So for us to come out


And by the way, if you got a sequel license,

you just get this thing like we just allow you

to install this.

So that's that's one of the things I focus a

lot of time on is try to make sure we're

still doing that.

We're still trying to make sure we get the word

out that if you want to start building kind of

your own data Lake within your environment and incorporate these

big data technologies with SQL things like machine learning as

well big data clusters,

this is probably a good solution for you.

So yeah, that was, uh.

Big focus of 19.

Yeah, I will say

this is that I'm really impressed with the kind of

the thinking.

Is it in order to adapt to kind of the

big data world?

How much engineering is got into updating and improving?

Uh, and adapting to kind of this new,

bigger data world that SQL Server is done.

You know that big data cluster technology,


thing about it, the heart of it,

is that this technology called Poly base.

You probably heard of right?

And this? This is really us just kind of looking

at the landscape of the industry and realizing,

hey, we'd love for everybody to store data in SQL

Server like right ETL jobs and do all the converted

from all your data sources.

But the reality is customer saying I can't do that

like there's some reasons I really let it really can't

even move the data.

So Poly base which started in 16 we just took

that thing exploded it.

We're like, OK, now you can use Poly based access.

Anything you want. Literally with an odbc driver,

let the day to stay where it is,

but access it through like external tables in SQL as

that hub and then you know quite frankly customer said

like well,

I like that Hadoop thing,

but I don't have a hoe to cluster laying around

were like OK,

will just install one for you.

You know, listens to do for you.

You just copy files in there,

like even petabytes of files.

And you just access them like tables and will just

make it scalable and

queryable. Pretty cool. Yeah, that's awesome.

That mean that excites me,

because that's, you know. As a data scientist Emil engineer,

you know, whatever you know,

you want to call Maine.


keep it PG. Uh, you know.

I mean that excites me.

That kind of that beyond kind of the Relational Datastores.

And you know that SQL Server is definitely catching up.

One point is for those who are not familiar with

Poly base,

what would you be? Your kind of your elevator pitch

for Poly base?



data where it lives, access it through the language,

or use 2T SQL. That's really what it comes down


You know leverage or T SQL skills go access this


Keep it where it lives.

Run SQL queries. Looks like a table results.

You know, brought back to you.

That's really what it's about.


that's a great description.

I would also want to.

I want

to ask you a question.

How does this relate to what we're seeing with synapse?

It's a great question. Synapses,

a complete platform as a service analytics...